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Munich 2021: BMW Presents the i Vision Circular Concept, a Recyclable Car

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In addition to showcasing the future crop of electric vehicles coming to dealers near you in the coming years, the Munich Motor Show was also the setting yesterday for a BMW design study that imagines what the BMW vehicle of 2040 will be like. And one of the things it could be, is all-recyclable.

The i Vision Circular concept, which sports the dimensions of a compact-sized let’s-call-it-an-SUV, foreshadows BMW's vision of sustainability.

At about 157 inches long, the study is a bit shorter than the 2 Series, the smallest model BMW currently offers here. However, thanks to its electric configuration and pod-like profile, the i Vision Circular concept features a spacious interior.

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BMW presents the BMW i Vision Circular concept in Munich
Photo: BMW
BMW presents the BMW i Vision Circular concept in Munich

What's most special about this model is its extensive use of recycled components and materials. Did we say extensive? In fact, the product is 100 percent recyclable, including its solid-state battery, which itself is made almost entirely from recycled materials. BMW's philosophy of sustainability is at the heart of this prototype, which eschews traditional assembly techniques, opting instead for cords, snaps and clip systems that attach and detach quickly, making it easy to disassemble and recycle.

As for the bodywork, it’s mostly made of recycled aluminum with an anodized finish. The grille takes the form of a digital screen with a graphic that attempts to mimic the brand's traditional grille. Around the windows is a digital surface that the company says could be used to display information about the vehicle to users as they approach.

The rocker panels are made of recycled plastic and BMW says the tires, which have a slight blue tint, are made of sustainably grown natural rubber.

The BMW i Vision Circular concept, interior
Photo: BMW
The BMW i Vision Circular concept, interior

On board, the environment is soothingly colourful, with the floor and panels in a mint green hue. The seats (which are actual armchairs) are covered in a purple recycled fabric and the accents are the same colour as the body. Illuminating the interior is a glass roof. Lastly, instead of a traditional dashboard, the panel features a 3D printed crystal sculpture.

Driver data is found on a head-up display spanning the entire width of the windshild’s bottom portion. The steering wheel is also 3D printed. BMW claims that the rear seats each have their own “dedicated sound zone”.

Of course, the i Vision Circular concept is a design study that will never see the light of day as a production model. Its purpose, BMW says, is that many innovations developed for it will help the automaker increase the percentage of recycled and reusable materials it will use with its vehicles in future. It's currently at 30 percent and the company wants to increase that to 50 percent.

The BMW i Vision Circular concept, profile
Photo: BMW
The BMW i Vision Circular concept, profile
The BMW i Vision Circular concept, three-quarters rear
Photo: BMW
The BMW i Vision Circular concept, three-quarters rear
Photos:BMW
BMW i Vision Circular concept pictures